Work Your Crop Plan – Don't Switch Maturities Yet

With saturated soil conditions and more rain in the short-term forecast, some farmers are talking about switching maturities or even making the switch from corn to soybeans.

Producers are questioning whether longer season maturity hybrids should be swapped for shorter season hybrids, says Iowa State University Extension Corn Specialist Roger Elmore, and the quick answer is “no.”

There are several good reasons why farmers should wait at least until mid-May before making any changes to their current crop plan:

  • We’re still within the window of opportunity for maximum yields. Although corn is not being planted as early as last year, it’s still “early.”  There are literally weeks of optimal planting dates remaining.  Since hundreds of acres of corn can be planted in just one good day, take the time to wait for suitable planting conditions.  Iowa State University research shows there is very little yield difference between hybrids planted April 20 and May 20.  Corn planted between April 20 and May 5 resulted in 100 percent yield potential, however, 99 percent yield potential was achieved with a planting date up to May 20.
  • Hybrids adjust to delayed planting dates.  Adapted full season corn hybrids can compensate somewhat for later plantings.  As planting is delayed, hybrids shorten the time between planting and silking.  Research shows that development and final yield of these hybrids will not be largely affected unless frost occurs especially early in the fall.  That’s why ISU field agronomists recommend waiting until May 25 before switching to an earlier maturing corn hybrid.
  • In general, fuller season corn hybrids out-yield shorter season hybrids. Expected corn prices can significantly affect one’s decision to switch maturities or even crops.  Consider the yield potential and the cost of production before making your final decision.  With corn at $7, it could be worth sticking with a fuller-season hybrid in hopes of increased yield.

For these reasons and more, there’s no need to switch hybrids at this point.  Patience is the key word this planting season!